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Women of Rock: Velvet Two Stripes Sort Through Some of Their Most Significant Female Inspirations

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You got a “Fever,” and it’s for some classic bluesy rock coming straight from the fire and fury of Velvet Two Stripes. This is the latest single from the female trio, who are working hard to keep the spirit of the blues alive. It’s a sign of what’s to come on their third album, Sugar Honey Iced Tea, which is scheduled for release on October 15th. Following in the footsteps of The Kills, The Yeah Yeah Yeahs, and Deap Valley, Velvet Two Stripes are a stark reminder of the special force that only the women of rock can bring. “Fever” is emblematic of a band that has really developed through the years, eager to embrace new methods of recording. This approach is apparent in the polyphonic vocals heard throughout the song.

The girls, Sophie and Sara Diggelmann, and Franca Mock, bring an old-school DIY approach to the band and their music. Their first release, 2017’s Got Me Good EP, didn’t fulfill what they had in mind for their band, so they decided to take matters into their own hands. This led them to release their sophomore album Devil Dance on their own in 2019, which they preferred since it allowed them to retain complete control over their music. They’ve maintained their musical independence for Sugar Honey Iced Tea, which will feature nine new batches of fuzzy blues jams.

The empowered, invested attitude of Velvet Two Stripes didn’t just come from nowhere; it was formed by some very accomplished, outspoken female musicians. For our new Women of Rock, the members of Velvet Two Stripes offer us some of their greatest female musical influences that have had a clear and deliberate effect on them as musicians and individuals.

1. Janis Joplin

“Janis Joplin has always been a great inspiration for me. Her manner, her appearance and above all her musical work have influenced me since I started playing guitar, and her unmistakable live performance never fails to impress me. The fact, she was a self-taught gave me power and the self-confidence, it’s like, yeah you can do it! When I’m listening to her music, it triggers a feeling of euphoria in me. It inspires me no matter what mood I am in. It also reminds me of my childhood, when I bounced all day on my bed with a microphone and lot of coloured scarves wrapped around my head and waist, singing to Janis Joplin, dreaming of being on tour, hitting stages, performing worldwide with my own rock band. Janis Joplin has always been and still is a great role model, musically as well as interpersonally.” (Franca)

2. Rhonda Smith

“Rhonda Smith is a great inspiration for me as a bass player: the way she can express every single emotion through her music, is brilliant. You can see by her playing what’s going on inside of her, and that’s no simple matter, especially for a bass player: you are responsible for creating the necessary base together with the drums so that guitar and vocals can run wild. Rhonda Smith can do both! I think her emotional bass playing is intensely reflected in her creativity. The way she combinates technique with originality and style is unique. Finally, her performance on stage is incredibly impressive. I mean, she’s like the coolest cat on stage, you just fall in love with her immediately!” (Franca)

3. Stevie Nicks

“I mean, who doesn’t love Stevie Nicks?! Fleetwood Mac is one of the few bands I can connect with my entire 27 years of living. When hearing Dreams, I don’t only recall my first heartbreaks but also road trips to Sweden and Austria with my parents as a child. Stevie Nicks’ songwriting style has heavily influenced my own songwriting. Her lyrics are so intricate at times but still you can relate to the songs so well. She just has a way with words that tell a story in such a thrilling way that you just get sucked into it. You just want to be part of her world.” (Sophie)

4. Alison Mosshart

“Alison Mosshart proved to me that just because you’re a female musician, you don’t necessarily need to be pretty and nice on stage. As a teenager, I thought that the head banging, running across the stage and screaming into the mic was reserved for the boys. I felt really trapped in the way I was performing because I didn’t really have a contemporary female role model. Until I heard of Alison Mosshart and The Kills. This totally changed my perception! I mean, she’s a full force on stage and takes all the energy of the crowd and gives it back tenfold. She just pours her heart out on stage and that’s what I really want to do too ever since. Plus, her golden boots were so cool! It took me months to find similar once and when I finally found a pair, I never took them off until they were completely worn out. She was definitely a big role model in my teenage days.” (Sophie)

5. Sister Rosetta Tharpe

“Sister Rosetta Tharpe has been a huge inspiration, not only for me but probably for all of rock n’ roll. She created a new style of music combining gospel and swing and thereby laying the foundation for what later would become known as rock n’ roll. Her style of playing the guitar was unique and she was known for it in a time in which almost no women played an instrument like the guitar. I think without her rock n’ roll wouldn’t sound as it does today.” (Sara)

6. Carmen Vandenberg (Bones UK)

“I love Carmen Vandenberg’s style of playing the guitar. Not only does she sound very ‘bluesy’ but she also combines this bluesy riffs with a lot of great effects making them sound like a real force. The sound of her guitar meets my taste exactly and I loved her collaboration with Jeff Beck on ‘Loud Hailor’.” (Sara)

Artwork for “Fever” by Velvet Two Stripes

Born in 2003, V13 was a socio-political website that, in 2005, morphed into PureGrainAudio and spent 15 years developing into one of Canada's (and the world’s) leading music sites. On the eve of the site’s 15th anniversary, a full re-launch and rebrand takes us back to our roots and opens the door to a full suite of Music, Film, TV, and Cultural content.

Blues

Shannon Smith Premieres Music Video for “Valentine’s Day” Tale of Regret and Undying Love

Shannon Smith explores truth, regret, and undying affection in new single “Valentine’s Day”. Check out the video here…

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Shannon Smith Press Photo
Shannon Smith, press photo

Shannon Smith’s new single “Valentine’s Day” is not just a song; it’s a journey through the perilous yet ultimately redeeming path of love. Against the backdrop of a houseboat in Augusta, Smith penned a confessional ode to his partner, Helen Townsend, weaving a tapestry of regret, truth, and undying affection.

Now, in time for Valentine’s Day itself, Smith is premiering the music video.

Musically, the single, blends Americana spirit with gospel-tinged harmonies courtesy of the McCrary Sisters, whose accolades include backing for the Elvis movie soundtrack and Grammy nods, while the narrative is a lover’s plea for forgiveness, all delivered with Smith’s raw delivery. The end result is intensely cathartic, authentically heartfelt and deeply personal.

Speaking about the single, Smith told us:

“Working on “Valentine’s Day” and its music video was something really special to me. It’s not just a song; it’s a piece of my life, a story about the ups and downs of love that I think we’ve all felt at some point. Recording this track with the incredible McCrary Sisters in Nashville was an experience I’ll never forget – it took everything to a whole new level. I’m super excited to share this on V13. It’s a little nerve-wracking but also amazing to open up like this and I really hope it hits home for you and reminds you that it’s ok to be open and that, sometimes, loves biggest test is also its biggest reward.”

What sets “Valentine’s Day” apart is its authenticity. In an era where music often feels manufactured, Smith delivers a piece that is painstakingly crafted and emotionally charged. It’s a ballad for those who have faced the darkness in love and dared to light a candle rather than curse the night.

To purchase the single, head over here.

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Blues

Joe Bonamassa Announces His New “Blues Deluxe Tour”

Blues guitar legend Joe Bonamassa has announced details of his upcoming “Blues Deluxe Tour” U.S. summer tour.

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Joe Bonamassa live at Royal Albert Hall, photo by Christie Goodwin
Joe Bonamassa live at Royal Albert Hall, photo by Christie Goodwin

As he readies himself for his upcoming U.S. spring tour, kicking off in Louisville, KY, next week, the three-time GRAMMY-nominated guitarist and unparalleled chart-topper Joe Bonamassa is excited to announce the “Blues Deluxe Tour” this summer. Beginning on July 17th in Selbyville, DE, and wrapping up with a memorable two-night stand on August 30th and 31st in Hampton Beach, NH, the 21-city tour promises to be a defining moment for live blues-rock, showcasing the music that defined Bonamassa’s career.

The “Blues Deluxe Tour” pays homage to Joe Bonamassa’s critically acclaimed albums, including his best-selling Blues Deluxe from 2003 and its current chart-topping successor, Blues Deluxe Vol. 2. The setlist is poised to be an electrifying journey through Bonamassa’s repertoire, featuring a mix of beloved fan favourites and deep tracks making their live debut, all performed alongside a band of world-class musicians. Tickets go on sale Friday, February 16th at 10 am local time.

This announcement comes on the heels of a series of significant milestones for Joe Bonamassa, including his recent Blues Music Award nominations and the landmark announcement of the tenth voyage of the Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea X. The celebrated blues-rock cruise, known for its stellar lineup and vibrant musical community, is set to sail from March 21st to 26th, 2025, from Miami, FL to Harvest Caye, Belize, and Costa Maya, Mexico, aboard the luxurious Norwegian Gem.

U.S. Spring Tour Dates:

02/19 – Louisville, KY – The Louisville Palace
02/21 – Youngstown, OH – Covelli Centre
02/23 – Red Bank, NJ – Count Basie Center For The Arts
02/24 – Oxon Hill, MD – The Theater at MGM National Harbor
02/25 – Durham, NC – DPAC
02/27 – Columbia, SC – Township Auditorium
02/29 – Virginia Beach, VA – The Sandler Center
03/01 – Roanoke, VA – Berglund Center
03/02 – Cincinnati, OH – Taft Theatre
03/04 – Richmond, VA – Altria Theater
03/05 – Knoxville, TN – Knoxville Civic Auditorium
03/07 – Pensacola, FL – Saenger Theatre
03/08 – Biloxi, MS – Beau Rivage
03/09 – Biloxi, MS – Beau Rivage
03/11 – Huntsville, AL – VBC Mark C. Smith Concert Hall
03/12 – Greenville, SC – Peace Center
03/14 – Macon, GA – Macon City Auditorium
03/15 – Orlando, FL – Dr. Phillips Center
03/16 – Clearwater, FL – The Sound
03/18 – 03/22 – Keeping the Blues Alive at Sea IX – Miami, FL to Cozumel, Mexico

European Spring Tour Dates:

04/04 – London, UK – The Royal Albert Hall
04/05 – London, UK – The Royal Albert Hall
04/07 – Oostende, BE – Kursaal Oostende
04/09 – Koln, DE – Lanxess Arena
04/11 – Paris, FR – Palais Des Sport
04/12 – Amsterdam, NL – AFAS Live
04/13 – Muenster, DE – Messe Und Congress Center
04/15 – Leipzig, DE – Arena Leipzig
04/17 – Katowice, PL – Spodek
04/18 – Berlin, DE – Mercedes Benz Arena
04/19 – Vienna, AT – Stadthalle

U.S. Summer Tour Dates:

07/17 – Selbyville, DE – Freeman Arts Pavilion*
07/18 – Patchogue, NY – Great South Bay Music Festival^
07/19 – Bangor, ME – Maine Savings Amphitheater
08/02 – Albuquerque, NM – Sandia Resort & Casino
08/04 – Morrison, CO – Red Rocks Amphitheatre
08/06 – Omaha, NE – Orpheum Theater
08/08 – Topeka, KS – Topeka Performing Arts Center
08/09 – Durant, OK – Choctaw Grand Theater
08/10 – Jackson, MS – Thalia Mara Hall
08/12 – Birmingham, AL – BJCC Concert Hall
08/14 – Charleston, SC – North Charleston Performing Arts Center
08/16 – Evansville, IN – Old National Events Plaza
08/17 – Indianapolis, IN – Murat Theatre at Old National Centre
08/18 – Nashville, TN – Ryman Auditorium
08/20 – Kettering, OH – Fraze Pavilion
08/21 – Hershey, PA – Hershey Theatre
08/23 – Port Chester, NY – The Capitol Theatre
08/24 – Port Chester, NY – The Capitol Theatre
08/25 – Rochester, NY – West Herr Auditorium Theatre
08/27 – Albany, NY – Palace Theatre
08/29 – Hyannis, MA – Cape Cod Melody Tent
08/30 – Hampton Beach, NH – Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom
08/31 – Hampton Beach, NH – Hampton Beach Casino Ballroom

*On-sale Friday, February 23rd at 12 pm EST
^On-sale now

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Blues

Marcus King Drops Rick Rubin-produced Single “Fuck My Life Up Again”

Marcus King announces the release of his new Rick Rubin-produced single, “Fuck My Life Up Again.” Hear it now!

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Marcus King
Marcus King

Marcus King announces the release of his new Rick Rubin-produced single, “Fuck My Life Up Again.”

This new single marks a significant sonic shift for King, who has historically been hailed for his virtuoso guitar riffs and preternatural talent. But on “Fuck My Life Up Again,” he lets the spotlight shine on his deeply soulful and arresting vocals, perfectly enhanced with R&B percussion, shimmering organ and lush string arrangements. The guitar is there, of course, though in true Rick Rubin experimental fashion, the solo is glitched-up and played backwards!

The hook is unshakeable, matching timeless symphonic soul with a decidedly modern take. King lays his feelings bare, reflecting on his tendency to chase unhealthy co-dependent relationships.

Of the single, King states:

“I was hesitant to record a song with such a foul word in it given my southern, Christian upbringing, but there was no other word I could find to capture the emotion I felt, the anger associated with missing someone you know is only going to bring you pain; missing a relationship that only hurts you, feeling hopeless to the point of wanting them to come back because the only thing worse than the co-dependent hell you’ve created together is the profound loneliness you feel.”

King is a GRAMMY® nominated fourth-generation musician from Greenville, South Carolina, who started playing guitar at eight years old, following in the footsteps of his musician father and grandfather.

Marcus King “Fuck My Life Up Again” single artwork

Marcus King “Fuck My Life Up Again” single artwork

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